Pump Sales Will be Flat, McIlvaine Says

Sales of industrial pumps in 2009 will be flat at the $32.5 billion level achieved in 2008. Growth of 2.5 percent is forecast for 2010, according to the McIlvaine Company in "Pumps World Markets."

The revision of more than 50,000 individual forecasts reveals contrasts by both geography and industry segment. Some industry sectors such as electronics and mining will be down 10 percent.

The markets in municipal water and wastewater will be up modestly. Pump sales to the food industry will grow 4 percent. Power will be the leading growth segment. Construction of large new coal-fired power plants and nuclear power plants in Asia will boost this market. Europe is replacing its old coal-fired power plants with new more efficient ones. In Asia and the United States, there will be large expenditures for scrubber pumps. Recent ash pond problems will also generate pump sales as solutions are found.

There are substantial differences in growth for the different regions. Asia will be up 2.8 percent to $13.2 billion in 2009. Europe will be down 1.7 percent to $8.9 billion. Stimulus initiatives directed to infrastructure are going to have a positive effect but not in 2009. Increased investment in municipal wastewater treatment facilities in the United States, China, and other countries will be reflected in higher revenues starting in 2010.

The pump industry will fare better than most in the tough economic environment of 2009. Replacement parts and service are significant revenue producers. This tends to lessen the peaks and valleys of the new plant market. Some of the major markets such as municipal wastewater and drinking water are not sensitive to near-term economic conditions.

These forecasts are subject to continuing adjustment. General markets are more volatile and less predictable than at any time since McIlvaine started forecasting in 1974. Until 2000, McIlvaine market reports were printed. Revenue forecasts were adjusted yearly. Now that these reports are online, they are adjusted as needed. In these volatile times quarterly revisions are both needed and supplied.

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